Flu Vaccinations - a quick explanation

What is immunity or the immune system

As soon as we are born we are vulnerable to disease. In most instances our bodies can fight off an infection, but often we are not born with the defence against a certain disease. Our bodies need to identify it and then generate antibodies. This means that we will have to get sick with the disease at least once in order for our bodies to be able to build up a defence against it.

Of there are diseases which might kill a person and definitely a child if they contract it. In order to prevent a person from contracting something like this, they need to be immune. Immunity against a disease can be created through stimulating the immune system, causing it to produce the antibodies required to stave off an infection by the given disease.

How is this done?

A weakened strain of the disease is introduced into the body, not enough to make one ill but enough to stimulate the body into producing the antibodies which can fight the disease should you be exposed to it at any point.

Any exposure to a strain of the disease against which no vaccination was can could lead to contraction of the disease which is often lethal. Vaccination prevents the spread of lethal diseases and in certain cases, like smallpox, the disease does not exist anywhere except in the controlled environment of a laboratory.

How does a flu vaccine work?

A flu vaccine works in pretty much the same way that a vaccine against other diseases will work, in that it exposes the body to minute, diluted doses of the disease causing the body to generate antibodies. This vaccination takes place as soon as the flu strain in a given year is identified, allowing the body sufficient time to build up a strong enough resistance to the particular strain of flu.

How effective is a flu vaccine?

There are two main factors that determine how effective the flu vaccination is.

  1. The general state of health and physical condition of the person receiving the vaccination will impact on the vaccination.
  2. The correspondence between the vaccination and the actual flu virus may vary as a result of the virus mutating. The vaccine is prepared by scientists and medical professionals who will take this type of disparity into account before production.
  3. Researchers study how effectiveness of a vaccine through out the season in order to determine its impact on public health. Because the accuracy of matching a virus to a vaccine is rather high the success of flu vaccines is increasing and becoming an important measure in managing public health.

Why you should get the flu vaccine

  1. Getting the flu vaccine will not only prevent  you from contracting the flu virus, but since you won’t be infected, the chances of your family being affected by flu are reduced.
  2. People who have a compromised immune system, or are vulnerable to infections because of factors like age, will benefit from a vaccination, which will give their immune system a boost when fighting off an infection like flu.
  3. You may also find that you don’t get as sick as you would have if you did not get a flu shot.


Needle Free Jabs

This does indeed sound like a misnomer, but in fact technology has brought us to the point where needles are no longer required to give a vaccination.  Instead of using the standard syringe the doctor will administer the vaccination with a needle-free injector.

The needle-free injector delivers the vaccine in  a narrow, high pressure stream which penetrates the skin in 1/10th of a second, delivering the dosage quicker than any other method.

Although this method is not pain free it is quicker and cleaner.

The need for needles is eliminated and along with it the need for proper disposal and the risk of needle stick injuries.

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